Sarah Ford | September 19, 2016

Giving Tuesday for Nonprofits: Look Inward, Look Outward and Think Long Term

By Sarah Ford

We have officially entered the busy season for nonprofits.  You’re likely up to your neck in projects and plans for your organization’s end-of-year fundraising campaign.  But, have you set your plans for Giving Tuesday yet?

To help prepare nonprofits with tips and ideas, MobileCause recently hosted its #GivingTuesday Playbook webinar, which featured expert advice from Beth Kanter (Beth’s Blog), Beau Slater (Wilmington College), and myself.

Below is a recording of the webinar for you to watch, along with a recap of the workplace giving and corporate partnership advice I shared (starting around minute 21:30 in the video). Good luck with your Giving Tuesday initiative and all of your year-end fundraising campaigns.  If you need help with your fundraising strategy, or are interested in learning more about how your nonprofit can benefit from workplace giving and corporate partnerships, please contact us to discuss your nonprofit needs. Also be sure to check out more Giving Tuesday ideas and advice on our website at

#GivingTuesday Playbook

Look Inward

Building meaningful relationships with new business partners necessitates a long-term strategy and more than two months of planning and coordination.  So for Giving Tuesday, focus on leveraging your existing partnerships, and see how you can tap into your Board of Directors’ organizations and contacts as well.

Touch base with your corporate partners and Board Directors to see what they are doing for Giving Tuesday.  There are several ways you and your corporate partner can celebrate Giving Tuesday in a mutually beneficial way, including the following: 

  1. Workplace giving campaigns: Workplace giving allows employees to pledge a portion of their paycheck to charities they care about, including specific charities featured by the company.  Often, companies will utilize matching gifts, paid time off, and other creative incentives to encourage employees to support the company’s nonprofit partner(s).
  2. Press Releases and Op-eds:  Consider using Giving Tuesday to tell everyone about the great work and impact your existing business partners have had on your organization throughout the past year. This is a great way to gain media exposure, and also a great way to educate other businesses in the community on how they can partner with your organization. 
  3. Volunteering & Other Employee Engagement Opportunities: America’s Charities’ Snapshot Employer Research report reveals that,

“Volunteerism is now the core around which companies are building employee engagement strategies and programs.  This is an on-ramp to deepening and starting partnerships with nonprofit organizations.” 

If your nonprofit has tons of volunteer opportunities, this is awesome news!  Not one of those nonprofits? It’s time to create volunteer opportunities and look deep into your organization’s needs and areas of expertise. 

  • Volunteerism includes skills-based volunteering.  So if you don’t have “paint the fence/build a house/tutor students” type activities, think about ways you could utilize talent from a company’s employees.  Skills-based volunteerism is a great way to address your nonprofit’s limited capacity problems, and it’s great for a company’s employee morale because it provides employees an opportunity to connect their talent with meaning they might now ordinarily get out of their day-to-day work. 
  • Share Your Nonprofit’s Expertise: Let’s say your nonprofit funds Alzheimer’s disease research and you have resources for caregivers, or you have a lot of resources for parents to use for talking with their children about drunk driving. Coordinate a day where you can go to your corporate partner’s company to present information about your area of expertise to the company’s employees.  By helping those employees with their personal lives, you will gain a personal connection with them and will likely be top-of-mind down the road when they decide what charity to support. 

Look Outward and Think Long Term

Determined to work with a new business partner for Giving Tuesday? Consider the following tips as you get started:

  1. Identify the Right Business Partner: Businesses are strategic when it comes to determining which charity(ies) they align their brand with, and they often publicize their charitable work and specific causes they support on their website. Create a list of companies you’re interested in partnering with, and research their websites (typically there is a “social responsibility” or “community involvement” page, or it’s something they include in their annual report).  Narrow your list of potential business partners to those who are interested in addressing the cause your nonprofit supports.
  2. Figure Out Whom to Approach: At smaller companies, responsibility for the company’s giving initiatives lies with the Marketing or HR department. For larger companies, the company’s giving program might be a specific person’s sole job.  A great way to identify the right person to approach is to use LinkedIn.  Typing the company’s name with keyword phrases such as “social responsibility” or “community relations” will often bring up a list of specific people you should consider approaching.
  3. Have a Specific Goal and Plan: Companies are frequently approached by nonprofits interested in corporate partnerships and funding.  Before you approach them, demonstrate how serious your nonprofit is by presenting a strategic plan that highlights what exactly you want to achieve through the partnership, how you plan to utilize the company’s resources, how you will measure impact, and how the partnership will benefit the company.

Once you have successfully initiated your new business partnership, consider using Giving Tuesday to announce your partnership and share what you hope to accomplish together in the coming year and in the long term.

Lastly, consider focusing your Giving Tuesday effort on business employees; not the business.

Giving Tuesday Matching Gifts

The reason why so much money isn’t being utilized is lack of education and awareness.  Use Giving Tuesday to educate and ask your existing donors about taking advantage of their company’s matching gift program. A great resource I like to tell nonprofits about is called Double the Donation.  Double the Donation has a tool that nonprofits can embed directly on their website, where donors can enter the name of their employer and see if that company matches gifts.  If the company matches gifts, the tool gives the donor information on how to get that matching gift. If just 2-5% of your existing donor base can take advantage of their company’s matching gift program, that can mean huge returns for your nonprofit on Giving Tuesday.  Below is a screen shot of how America’s Charities member, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, is utilizing Double the Donation’s tool.  The screen shot that follows, is an example of what a donor would see if they typed in “Lockheed Martin.”

Giving Tuesday Matching Gifts Tool

Double the Donation Example


>> More Giving Tuesday Resources

Giving Tuesday with America's Charities

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